An Interview with the Net Impact UW Chapter

At the recent Net Impact conference in Portland, we hosted a volunteer bike build event for attendees (see Suzanne’s post on how many MBAs it takes to build a bike). The University of Washington chapter of Net Impact brought the most spirit, and the most volunteers. A big shout out and thanks – if it wasn’t for the UW chapter, as well as all of the other volunteers who attended, we would have been building bikes well into the afternoon. Read on to find out more about the chapter and what they thought about the event.

Why get involved with organizations like Net Impact?

Net Impact gives our members the ability to make their MBA experience multi-dimensional by adding in aspects of business that aren’t focused on as strongly during course work. It offers our members the ability to stretch their thinking by interacting with thought leaders, other students, and professionals and provides opportunities to make a difference, both during the MBA program as well as in their future careers. Net Impact also provides us with a cohesive, group that can gain support from administration in the events and initiatives we’re working towards.

What are some of your chapter’s key focuses this year?

Big events and activities this year include the launch of a Service Corps program where our students will have the ability to work on real challenges in partnership with local non-profit organizations. In addition, we’re planning our second annual “Idea Lab” event, which brings together students and local Seattle business professionals to discuss relevant challenges and issues related to sustainability and responsible business practices.

Our chapter is also involved in several events with Challenge For Charity, including volunteering and raising money for the Boys and Girls club and the Special Olympics of Washington.

We’ve also been making a strong push to help students understand that Net Impact isn’t just about being “green”, it’s about a holistic approach to environmental and social responsibility in business that everyone can use in their future careers, regardless of their role or title.

Why did your chapter choose to give up your lunch and attend the Build a Bike event?

Our members chose to attend for several reasons; Intel and UW have historically had a strong relationship and we wanted to show our support while catching up with alumni and meeting new people, to help out and stretch our legs and brains after a couple days of listening, to use our bike building skills for good! The event was a great contrast to harness some of the energy that was built through listening to the inspiring speakers during the weekend towards doing something productive for the community.

We appreciated that it was an informal, social event that allowed us to help out a local Portland organization while interacting with other Net Impact members as well as the Intel team. We have many members that are dedicated cyclers and I think this event spoke to them in particular since they truly appreciated the impact their work could have. We would have loved to be able to interact with members of the organization that the bikes were being donated to, just to make the experience that much more concrete.

For more information about Net Impact, check out their website. Email the UW Net Impact team at